HC Deb 22 January 1980 vol 977 cc220-2


'.—(1) Any power of the Secretary of State to make orders or regulations under this Act shall be exercisable by statutory instrument. (2) An order under section2(3) above shall be laid before Parliament and shall cease to have effect (but without prejudice to the making of a new statutory instrument) unless, within forty days of the making of the order, it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament; and in reckoning any period of forty days for the purposes of this subsection, no account shall be taken of any period during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. (3) Any statutory instrument containing regulations under this Act or an order under section 10 or 12(1) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. (4) No order shall be made under section 20(1) above unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.'.—[Mrs. Sally Oppenheim.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we may take Government amendments Nos. 2, 7, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 41 and 47.

Mrs. Oppenheim

Again, we promised in Committee to consider whether orders creating exemptions from the anti-competitive practice provisions in the Bill should be subject to the affirmative, rather than the negative, parliamentary procedure. Subsection (2) of the new clause will give effect to this modification.

As indicated in Committee, we are reluctant to provide for orders being laid before Parliament in draft form and approved before they can be brought into operation. This could lead to serious delays when Parliament is in recess. Therefore, the clause allows orders to be brought into effect before approval is obtained but requires approval within 40 days if the orders are to remain in force.

We have also taken the opportunity in these amendments to bring together all the provisions governing the procedure for orders under the Bill into a single clause. These amendments make no difference to the substance of the Bill but shorten and simplify it.

Hon. Members will recall, as the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser) did in Committee, that in Opposition I often pressed for more parliamentary accountability in the case of orders such as this. I hope that he will feel that I am consistent in giving way to the points that he made. Therefore, I am inserting this procedure in the Bill.

Mr. Neubert

Once again, I am indebted to my right hon. Friend for the prompt and effective way in which she has met these points. I am sure her action will be appreciated by all those who uphold the responsibility of this House in ensuring that if any important decision comes before it there should be an opportunity for full debate. This is far preferable to the automatic procedure involved in the original Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

Forward to